Health and Safety Update: August 2017Untitled-1


HSE fines rise 78% in year following introduction of Sentencing Guideline

Data from a report by law firm Clyde and Co and cited in SHP Online shows that HSE fines increased by 78% in the first year following the introduction of the Health and Safety Sentencing Guideline, with fines from local authorities rising by nearly 2000%.

HSE fines rose to £61.6m in the year to 31 January 2017, compared with £34.6m in the previous 12 months. Local authority fines rose from £0.8m to £15.2m.

Fines in the manufacturing sector accounted for 37% of the total collected by the HSE, while the construction sector represented 21%. The highest manufacturing fine was £3m; in construction the highest fine was £2.6m.

More fines exceeded £1m in the year to 31 January 2017 than in the previous 15 years combined.

For a recap of the Health & Safety Sentencing Guideline please click here.


CDM breach leads to fine for Principal Contractor

A London-based construction firm was fined £52,000 plus $4,000 costs after complaints from the public led to Health and Safety Executive inspections.

The company was acting as Prinicpal Contractor for the development of a public house and 24 flats. The HSE issued the company with four prohibition notices and three improvement notices after identifying a number of breaches, including dangerous electrical systems, unsafe working at height and fire safey breaches.

The firm pleaded guilty to an offence under Regulation 13 (1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.


Tata Steel receives £1m fine for 2011 vapour release

In June 2011, a large vapour cloud, released through an inspection porthole, spread across Tata Steel's site, causing breathing difficulties in two workers and risking the life of five.

Previous to this incident, recommendations had been made by an engineering contractor that missing glass be replaced on portholes, and that trip systems and pressure alarms were installed. None of these recommendations had been followed.

The vapour release occurred following a series of failures at the plant. Two workers were sent to hospital but discharged the following day.

The sentencing judge estimated that the cost of recommended repairs would have been around £25,000. He decided that the company's level of culpability was high under the sentencing guideline due to its disregard of warnings. The penalty started at £2.4m but the judge discounted it because Tata Steel is loss-making, and had entered a 'guilty' plea at the earliest opportunity. The fine was set at £930k, plus costs of £70k

Landlord given suspended jail sentence for fire risks

Following an investigation which uncovered several fire safety failings, a hotel landlord in Lancashire admitted twelve offences relating to placing people at risk of death and serious injury.

Among the findings, investigators found covered smoke detectors; fire doors held open with fire extinguishers and obstructions in escape routes. The landlord had previously received fire safety notices but had not acted upon them.

The landlord was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, 120 hours unpaid work and costs of £10,000.


Lack of training results in £230k fine

A joinery company has been fined £230,000 after a worker in its factor lost a finger. The man had been using a circular saw to cut wood when his hand came into contact with the equipment. He lost the tip of his thumb and most of his first finger.

An HSE investigation found that the company had not provided the worker with appropriate training or supervision to ensure that he carried out his work safely.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 9 (1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.